Groups call for Sainsbury’s cash to be spent in Bognor Regis

A quarter of a million pounds will be donated next week for the benefit of Bognor Regis.

Sainsbury’s will hand over the money on Wednesday when its new store on Shripney Road opens. It follows the firm’s £250,000 donation when building work on the store started six months ago.

The retailer agreed to the contributions to improve the town centre and help counter any effect of its 55,000sq ft store.

Demands have been growing for the town to see the benefit of the cash quickly. Hugh Coster, the civic society’s deputy chairman, said: “We want to see this money spent on hard projects and not frittered away on council officers’ salaries or consultants’ fees. It should go on specific projects that improve the town.”

The latest money from Sainsbury’s should help to create a top-quality town centre free parking scheme, he said.

“The scheme we have now is not even on a par with that in Littlehampton.

“We want one that will be properly marketed and extends to far more spaces.

“That way, everyone benefits because more people will be attracted to the town and that will bring better shops.

“We are also concerned about what has happened to the initial £250,000 from Sainsbury’s. We want to see the benefit it has brought to the town.”

Chamber of commerce president and chairman Nick Stuart-Nicolson said: “We want to see the money used for more free parking.

“We want more spaces in more ground level car parks. The money also needs to be spent quickly. We don’t want it sitting in Arun’s bank account for a long time.”

Anthony Everitt, Arun’s senior economic development officer, said the first tranche of money from Sainsbury’s had been allocated to projects such as a Rox event, museum signage and the folk festival.

“People should be able to see the results of some of that money imminently,” he said. “But there is no frontrunner for the second tranche, and it has not been allocated yet.”